<Chapter 17. Disguise – 1>
“You’re back? It doesn’t look like you’ve changed much.”
“What about you? Ah.”
Kratia, who had been focusing on the core, greeted them and Lee Shin Woo just tilted his head. He soon realized that she was talking about Jin, not him. But it was strange that the man in question, Jin, wasn’t even here. Kratia spoke unimportantly.
“He just started running all of a sudden. He should be back soon.”
…Perhaps seeing his human appearance again within the mental world was traumatizing for him. Lee Shin Woo promised that he would treat Jin well when he came back, and opened his mouth for a second time.
“Do you know what ability Jin got?”
“Yeah. Jin got an ability that creates a magic barrier, right? That and Steel Body fused together to make the ability enclose his outer body in magic steel armor. God’s blessing was added as well, so I suppose we can trust in its effectiveness. Honestly, it was a skill that greatly supplemented his strength and health.”
Hearing that, Lee Shin Woo marveled at the fact Jin asked God to fuse those two skills together. Since it was an ability created by God, its power was assured.
Moreover, Jin had acquired a skill that supplemented both his strength and health, so it was easy to figure out what Jin needed to focus on in order to further develop in the future. Magic.
‘It’s a good skill for Jin, who had it rough due to his irregularly high agility. It seems God was fairly considerate.’
If she had been that considerate before, he wondered how good it might’ve been, but he had to be satisfied with the past. At that thought, Lee Shin Woo smiled bitterly, and Kratia then inquired.
“But it looks like you haven’t changed at all.”
“I really haven’t changed at all.”
“Jin received such a huge present from her, yet… Ah, did your entire share go to Jin?”
“You see, I got something else.”
Lee Shin Woo replied, revealing that he had no intention of telling her, and Kratia looked at him coyly. However, Lee Shin Woo was immune to honey traps, so he just responded with a thin smile. She was only accompanying them temporarily to study Lee Shin Woo’s magic, so he had no intention of sharing everything with her.
[As a result of you reaching an agreement with God, you have opened up a new test. Though the graves of the heroes she sent to the Underground Empire before are mostly hidden, her blessing still remains. Please give them peace, inherit their strength and will, and purify the Empire. But be careful. Because these heroes, who have come back in undeath, still believe themselves to be heroes.]
[Quest reward – Every hero you put to rest: 1 additional permit to God’s secret shop, and Invisible Heart reinforcement]
Normally, when one takes down an undead hero, they receive the undead hero’s Perium, as well as a permit to God’s secret shop. He would get an additional permit for every kill as well, so if he resolved himself and farmed them, it wouldn’t be impossible to go to God’s garden again.
‘Moreover, there’s a reward I didn’t even ask for: Invisible Heart reinforcement.’
So long as it doesn’t increase the skill level under the pretense of ‘reinforcing’ it, he could honestly say that he was excited about this clause. In any case, he now knew where all the undead heroes scattered around the Empire were, meaning that he had fulfilled his objective in meeting God.
“Welcome back… Ooh.”
Lee Shin Woo was suddenly satisfied with his decision and nodded his head; then, Jin returned. Seeing the magic steel armor that completely covered him, Lee Shin Woo was in awe.
Though it was called magic armor, that wouldn’t do it justice; it wasn’t simply armor. By wearing it, Jin’s body would be reinforced and the term ‘Powered Suit’ was more appropriate to describe this authority. So this is what it meant by supplementing his strength and health! With this, even if he’s hit quite hard, he wouldn’t feel the impact!
“Is your mana ok?”
“Just maintaining it doesn’t use any mana. It uses up mana whenever I’m hit, or I use a lot of force.”
“I think you should focus on magic, rather than health and strength from now on.”
“Yeah, probably should.”
Despite the fact that his ability had developed rapidly, Jin acted way too calmly. Seeing that, Lee Shin Woo was about to carelessly ask if he was ok, but blocked his mouth with his hand. He had returned to being a human being for just an instant, and was now a Skeleton Horse again, so there was no way he was ok.
However, was it because of their assimilation? Jin noticed the slight bit of hesitation and movement from Lee Shin Woo. As well as roughly figuring out what he was thinking.
“…I admire you, Shin Woo.”
Jin understood that Lee Shin Woo was trying to be considerate of him, and was suddenly surprised that Lee Shin Woo could just stand there so calmly, despite experiencing the same thing he did. It felt like his own seething emotions were beginning to abate.
“As I thought, it seems like joining up with you was a good idea.”
“Man, stop it already.”
Jin chuckled seeing Lee Shin Woo look so uncomfortable.
Kratia decided not to interfere with their conversation, and immersed herself in the study of the core. It was good that she did. The two skeleton heroes began to look past whatever pretense she put up.
“That woman. It doesn’t seem like she’s just ill natured.”
Jin said. Lee Shin Woo also thought that way.
“You want to say that she made us into undead on purpose, right?”
“Yeah, but I don’t know why she did it.”
“I wonder. It may unexpectedly be something unimportant. She could’ve thought that she should send undead this time, since nothing was going right by sending humans.”
Lee Shin Woo thought he’d seen God’s true intentions in her garden. She said that it didn’t matter what happened, so long as the Empire was purified, but… doesn’t that show just how desperate she is? Wouldn’t her true intention be that she wanted to purify the Empire, no matter the cost?
“Is that really the only reason…?”
“Even if there were another reason, we can’t know now. So, we have to learn more about this world.”
Arema Steelworker’s golems, General Seagald’s undead, the Emperor in the capital… as well as the Skeleton Commander’s last words, ‘I wanted to leave the Empire’.
He was sure that the secret that surrounded the Underground Empire wasn’t simple. He needed to move more proactively, if for no other reason than to figure that secret out.
“Do you think our senior heroes will know anything about it?”
“Maybe. I can’t really ask about it in the chatting channel.”
Lee Shin Woo just shrugged his shoulders. Truthfully, he wasn’t much different from Kratia. He couldn’t easily trust someone before meeting them in person. Jin roughly thought the same as him, as he didn’t even use the chatting channel.
“Then what do we do now?”
“Before that… Kratia?”
“I want to keep looking at this a bit more.”
Kratia’s cheeks were flushed because she was pissed that she hadn’t been able to understand the core in detail.
That would mean that she, who studied magic all her life, was lagging behind Lee Shin Woo, so she couldn’t help but be pissed! Of course, it was also due to the special circumstances he’d faced.
“It’s probably impossible for me to create a golem’s mana. But now that it’s come to this, I’m going to figure out a way to hack the generated mana no matter what.”
“Remember to tell me how you did it, if you do find out.”
Lee Shin Woo was only more talented than Kratia in changing mana and handling it, but he couldn’t even compare to her in terms of magical theory. He thought that perhaps it was actually a good idea to leave the core with her and stood up.
“Then we got to go to the sewers now. I’ll definitely eat Pudding no matter what.”
“I wish it were pudding that we could actually eat…”
They had been talking about huge topics like God’s true objective and the Empire’s secret, yet they suddenly returned to reality and talked about the sewer dungeon, which was truly distressing. Regardless, Jin had to follow along, so he just sighed.
“You don’t need to go to the secret shop?”
“There’s still a long time before I reach level 6, so I’ll wait a while.”
Of course, he had become level 5 in the time since he’d last gone to the secret shop, as well as accumulating more than 3,000,000 Perium from clearing out the golems as well as a city.
However, he had to raise his stats by around 1,500 to reach the next level, so what would buying one or two bones do? He also only had one permit to God’s secret shop left from entering God’s garden, so he planned to gather more Perium until he at least acquired one more permit.
“Then that means we have to go into the sewers…”
“I wonder if there’s a secret facility here as well. It’d be great if there were.”
But unfortunately, they had no such luck; there was no secret facility there. Since Anti-Skull didn’t exist in every single city’s sewers. However, the sewers were overflowing with slimes that thrived from eating filth, and Lee Shin Woo didn’t just simply kill them.
“For dozens of years, slimes gradually and naturally fuse together and develop their abilities. However, the Great Slime from last time was afraid of my flames and started to eat any slimes that it came across.”
“How can you be so sure?”
Jin’s goblin fire was tinged with sympathy, as he saw the slimes run around hectically at the handful of flames placed atop their heads.
“How can you call yourself a human being?”
“Can’t you see I’m a skeleton?”
Perhaps because this was a commercial city that various people frequented, the amount of wastewater in here was no joke; also, the quantity of discharged mana was equally large, so perhaps that was why it was a level 3 dungeon. The slimes that they encountered from the start of the dungeon were at least level 2.
But how could he progress by killing them? The only remaining answer was for them to fuse.
“Now you guys. Fuse together. I said fuse together.”
Soon, one of the slimes responded to Lee Shin Woo’s devilish whispers. Ultimately, it realized that if it didn’t want to be burnt, leaving behind only its core, it would have to eat its comrades!
Its target struggled, but the slime was ultimately absorbed, and it seemed excited about its newfound size as it started to eat the others as well. In just a short while, it had gathered a considerable amount of mana, and managed to level up and become an elite at the same time!
[Lv3 Great Slime]
“See? It worked. It’s really easy to make an elite monster.”
Jin looked terrified, and the Great Slime in the middle, who looked at them vacantly, finished eating all of the slimes and rushed further into the passage, as if it knew it was still no match for Lee Shin Woo.
Since it was a level 3 dungeon, there should be some level 3 slimes in here. It should be able to transform into a King Slime after eating all of its competitors, no, perhaps even something greater than that! Lee Shin Woo didn’t hide his anticipation and followed behind it. Jin just prayed that he would be able to leave these dirty sewers soon.
After that, it had finally finished eating all of the slimes in the dungeon and evolved into a level 5 Great King Slime. It wanted to get revenge on Lee Shin Woo, but unfortunately, it couldn’t move properly because it had gotten too big, so it was swept away by Lee Shin Woo’s flames and died after one grand explosion.
 T/N: His ‘affectionate’ term for slimes.